Original Christmas songs, devised by students at Livability Nash College, spread love and joy at the charity’s much-loved carol celebration this year. Four students – Jake, Onyi, Ben and Kemal – wowed the audience with their song and dance numbers.
Rehearsals began in early December, with the student troupe contributing to the themes of the musical items. ‘Each student was asked what they thought about Christmas and a song was created around this,’ says Nash support assistant Angela. ‘Onyi likes wearing nail varnish and particularly likes her sparkly, Christmas-inspired ones, hence the “Christmas nails” song!’
Livability’s annual carol celebration is one of the most popular events in the charity’s calendar, packing out St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London. Taking part in the celebration, in front of hundreds of people, is a hugely confidence-boosting event for the students, most of whom live with profound disabilities. ‘Having an opportunity to celebrate their skills and talents, and experience a positive response from a new audience, is really valuable for the students,’ says music therapist. Both Ben and Jake said they particularly enjoyed singing with a big choir.
Music therapy is embedded in the Nash curriculum, which provides personalised further education for 19-24 year olds. ‘Music and music therapy provide opportunities to use creativity and encourage self-expression,’ says Rebecca, another member of the music therapy team. ‘Like all young people, music can be used as a medium for exploring identity and the transition to adulthood, and provides ways to relate to their peer group.’
What was the highlight of the night for the music therapy team? They all agree: ‘The students’ pride and enjoyment at their performance!’